By Andrew Dennis
17 Mar 2014

Luck O’ The Link Builder: Creating Luck Through Preparation

Link Building

In honor of St. Paddy’s Day and the abundance of four-leaf clovers we see this time of year, I want to take some time to talk about luck. In particular, I want to discuss a notion I call the “luck o’ the link builder”.

While the incredibly clever term “luck o’ the link builder” is something I’ve coined myself (although it is possible someone else has used it somewhere, because it is really awesome), I believe it’s an idea that all link builders can relate to.

The idea comes from a feeling that I often got as a frustrated rookie link builder that sometimes you had to get lucky to be a good link builder. Some weeks you may build a number of quality links and the next week it seems like you keep getting rejected and can’t build a single link. It can be tempting to blame this discrepancy on sheer luck.

Race to Witch Mountain Meme

I believe this feeling comes from the fact the links we are building are placed on external sites. It can sometimes feel like acquiring a link is left up to chance because we are not the person physically placing the link on that other site. This sense of lack of control can often lead us to attribute our successes or failures to luck/misfortune.

However, as I have gained more experience in this industry and my link building prowess has grown, I have come to realize that the “luck o’ the link builder” really has nothing to do with luck at all. In fact, we as link builders create our own luck and we do so through preparation.

(By now you can probably sense the cliché coming, so I will at least do you the justice of having it come from Oprah.)

Luck is preparation meeting opportunity quote image

(Image Source)

While the opportunity portion of this quote is equally important in link building, for the purpose of this post I want to focus on preparation.

It is no secret that link building takes work. Much of the work regarding link building involves preparation. There are a few select areas where link builders can benefit from preparation and improve their link building luck. These areas include:

  • Research
  • Outreach
  • Content Amplification
  • Link Placement
  • Content Creation

With the right amount of preparation you can create your own luck and prosper from the “luck o’ the link builder”.

Lucky Research

The first portion of link building you should consider when upping your preparation game is research.

Research tends to go hand-in-hand with preparation and there are a few different aspects of link building research where a little preparation can go a long way.

First, you should research your own site/page to make sure you fully understand the value of what you are trying to build links to. The better you understand the unique value of your own page, the better you will be at convincing others to link to it.

Also, it is important to research your link building niche thoroughly. Take some time to run a competitor analysis and get to understand the competitive environment surrounding your industry better. Not only will these analyses give you valuable insight into your competitor’s backlink profiles, but you can also find relevant sites for your own campaign.

Lucky Outreach

Outreach is probably one of the aspects of link building we tend to associate most with luck. Again, I believe this comes from a feeling of powerlessness due to the fact that you are relying on someone else to respond. However, there are some strategies in regards to preparation that you can utilize to increase the efficacy of your outreach efforts.

First off, familiarize yourself with the webmaster or blog owner you are reaching out to before you contact them. I know this seems like a rather elementary idea, but it is something that often gets neglected.

I’m not referring to simply scanning their site for a name to address in an email (although if you’re not even doing this, chances are you’re not very lucky with outreach). I’m talking about taking some time to go through their site and get a sense for the person’s personality. Read their posts, read their about page, see what there site is like and what they are interested in before you contact them.

This will give you the ability to truly personalize your outreach and cater it to that individual site owner’s personality and interests. People are more inclined to spend their own valuable time responding to you if they feel you actually put some effort and thought into the message you sent them.

Also, you should take some time to interact on the site before outreaching. Spend some time commenting on posts or in forums on the site to establish a bit of a presence. This way, when you do outreach to the site’s owner, they might recognize you and be more willing to respond.

Lucky Content Amplification

Another area where you can improve your luck through preparation is with content amplification.

A large part of preparation for content amplification is an outreach plan. You need to create a plan to determine who you will reach out to, why you are reaching out to them and how you can get them to share your content.

It may seem that when a piece of content goes viral it is simply due to dumb luck. However, typically these things don’t happen without careful planning and preparation.

Interacting with influencers within your niche regularly is one of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for success with content amplification. If just one industry leader/influencer shares your content it can go a long way as they typically have large followings.

By sharing their content regularly and engaging with them on social media you can build the types of relationships that would encourage them to share your content when the time comes. Mentioning them by name or citing some of their work within your own content (with a link) can be a great way to motivate them to share as well.

Of course, most of the preparation in regards to content amplification involves steadily growing and fostering your own social following/audience. This comes from:

  • Interacting in online communities within your niche
  • Guest contributions to influential blogs/sites
  • Establish a regular column on industry leading sites

As long as you are continually producing content that provides value to your audience, you can begin to grow a dedicated social following. Don’t forget this doesn’t happen overnight though, hence the preparation.

Lucky Link Placement

There are also ways to prepare appropriately to decrease the chances you end up being rejected (like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) in your pursuit of a quality link.

Much like preparing for outreach, you should take some time to examine the site. Take a look at their linking habits and what types of links they typically allow/use.

Do they usually have branded, exact match URL, partial branded, etc. – what types of links are common? If you follow the linking procedures that are standard on the site, you greatly reduce the risk of having your link stripped.

If you are doing resource link building make sure you research the site thoroughly to find the best and most relevant page to place your link. Not only does this further justify the placement of your link, but this also shows the webmaster you took the time and effort to find where your link would add the most value.

The link building process requires that we rely on others to link to our sites and it can often seem like the outcomes of our efforts are out of our control. It can be tempting to blame our successes or failures on mere luck. However, I believe that through sufficient preparation ahead of time, you can create your own luck and thrive with the “luck o’ the link builder”.

Andrew Dennis

Andrew Dennis is a Content Marketing Manager at Shopify. Andrew is an alumnus of the University of Idaho and consequently a lifelong Vandals fan. You can connect with Andrew on Twitter or LinkedIn.